On Saturday, Oct. 16, President Joe Biden honored the 491 police officers who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2020. He spoke at the 40th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, which was organized by the National Fraternal Order of Police.
During his remarks, Biden mourned those who sacrificed their lives on the job and sympathized with their families. The president also emphasized the difficulties of being a police officer in today’s world.
“Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it’s ever been. And to the families of the fallen, you’ve suffered an enormous loss. But understand your loss is also America’s loss, and your pain is America’s pain,” Biden said, per Fox News.
He discussed the pain of burying a child, having lost two of his own children. That grief also extends to the sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, and family members who have had to bury fallen police officers and loved ones.
“It’s like losing a piece of your soul,” Biden said from the U.S. Capitol, per NPR. “Some of you still have that feeling like you’ve been sucked into a black hole in your chest, wondering, ‘My God, will it ever change?'”
Memorials like these honor and pay tribute to the lives lost on the job. But it’s important to remember, the president said, just how difficult a job these police officers endured before their deaths.
“I’ve been coming to this memorial for 40 years, missed a couple, and I’ve spoken to too many police memorials around the country. And it always amazes me how the public doesn’t fully understand what we expect of our law enforcement officers,” Biden said, per The Daily Mail. “We expect everything of you and it’s beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations.
“It’s a hard time to be a police officer in America,” he continued. “I want to make sure you have the tools to be the partners and the protectors your communities need.”
Police Officers Killed in Houston Shooting Honored in Memorial Service
Earlier Saturday morning, three police officers were shot by an unknown gunman outside a bar in Houston, Texas. President Joe Biden addressed the one deputy killed and two injured during his remarks at the 40th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service. He also expressed his sorrow to Houston Chief of Police Troy Finner.
“Chief, I’m here for you, pal, and so is everybody else,” Biden said during his address.
According to CNN, a gunman “came out of nowhere” and shot the three deputies while they detained someone else outside the Houston bar. Per a statement from Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman, 30-year-old Kareem Atkins died of his gunshot wounds. His wife gave birth to their first child two months ago.
The gunman also shot Deputies Darrell Garrett, 28, and Juqaim Barthen, 26, at the scene. They’re receiving treatment at the hospital right now, with Garrett undergoing surgery. There have been no other updates on the deputies’ conditions, and police continue searching for the shooter.